Many fans of The Voice claim that American Idol has jumped the shark but, despite a steady decline in ratings, it still usually steamrolls the competition. Idol definitely struggled in the press last year with the constant feuding between rival divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. And, yet, the show, which premieres tomorrow, is sure to still draw those loyal fans who have watched since the beginning.While The Voice has definitely been giving Idol a run for its money in the ratings as well as the general buzz surrounding the show, there are still some things the show could learn from Idol.
There is always a lot of talk among fans about the emotional backstories American Idol features on the contestants. Many complain about them, saying this is a singing competition — period — and, therefore, pulling the viewers’ heartstrings about a tough upbringing, etc., should be verboten. In the end, though, it always goes a long way in helping those singers to gain a fanbase and generate online interest. People’s music careers aren’t launched in a vacuum, and if Taylor Swift has taught us anything, it’s that the persona is just as important as musical abilities (or — ahem — lack thereof). The Voice could do more in showing us who their contestants are and what makes them tick.
While Idol has gone back and forth on this, they have generally had mentors on the show that alternate from week to week. It’s super fun for the viewers to check out how everyone from Miley Cyrus and Jamie Foxx to Jon Bon Jovi and will.i.am go about guiding these contestants in the process. Sure, The Voice has mentors as well, but a rotating influx of them might make for more enjoyable viewing.
Okay, this one might be controversial, but The Voice could learn to embrace the drama, at least a little bit more. With that many folks working together long hours, there were certainly arguments, exchanges, and interesting tidbits that likely go on behind the scenes. Idol has learned that viewers eat that you-know-what up, and have showed us more and more of that over the years. This year, Tessanne Chin was very emotional one week over something, but the show didn’t let us in on anything that went on behind closed doors. Is it exploitative? Yes, indeed, but it can also make for great TV.
Lastly, we’re not exactly sure what happens with contracts, etc., once the shows are over, but The Voice could take a page from Idol’s playbook in producing stars. The one way that Idol manages to stay in the news despite long hiatuses is they have genuine celebs in the music biz. Singers like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Phillip Phillips, Jennifer Hudson, and many more have used Idol as a springboard to success. To date, however, no one from The Voice has really made a name for himself. Perhaps they need to do a bit more hand-holding once the show ends.
What do you think of these ideas? Do you think The Voice could learn anything from American Idol? And vice versa? Share your thoughts in the comments!